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  Laurens County Higher Education Center, Page 56Laurens County Higher Education Center
Neal Prince + Partners
110 West North Street, Greenville, SC 29601

Clinton, South Carolina
Total Square Feet: 42,793
Construction Period: Dec 2000 to Feb 2002

Construction Team
Associate Design Architect: LS3P - 112 South Tryon Street, #200,Charlotte, NC 28284
General Contractor: Norungolo-Davis, Inc. - P.O. Box 51100, Piedmont, SC 29673
Structural Engineer: Professional Engineering Associates, Inc. - P.O. Box 8836, Greenville, SC 29604
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: McCracken & Lopez, P.A. - P.O. Box 32515, Charlotte, NC 28232
Landscape Architect: Neal Prince + Partners - 110 West North Street, Greenville, SC 29601
Cost Estimator: Conceptual Estimates - 107 Greenvale Drive, Easley, SC 29640

To provide greater access to educational opportunities in Laurens County, Piedmont Technical College, USC Union, and Laurens School District No. 55 and 56 formed a collaboration to build the Laurens County Higher Education Center. Piedmont Technical College assumed the coordinating role to create this state of the art higher education facility. Each member of the collaboration enjoys the use of all parts of the facility, with separate offices for each in the main administration area. The twenty-five acre site on which the facility is constructed was donated to the collaboration by Laurens County and is currently master-planned for two additional educational buildings.

Neal Prince + Partners provided master planning, site design, and building design for the Phase I building, which houses 14 general classrooms, four computer labs, three long-distance learning labs, a science laboratory, a resource library, seminar and conference rooms, and administrative space. LS3P of Charlotte, North Carolina assisted Neal Prince during the early programming and conceptual phases. “We wanted to provide conference facilities not only for the education collaboration, but also for the community at large,” stated Dr. Lex Walters, president of Piedmont Technical College. The architects responded with a three-part design, clustered around a central reception and administration center.

The client advocated a traditionally designed exterior, which would evoke the feeling of a stately southern campus. A landscaped entry avenue leads the visitor to a large columned entry portal with rich masonry detailing. High performance windows and exterior walls were specified in tandem with high performance mechanical systems for building efficiency. 

A conference center occupies the entire south end of the building and contains a variety of flexible multi-use spaces. A community room that seats 300 can be configured using operable partitions to create four break-out spaces off the main room. In addition, a small stage area is provided for multi-media presentations, a horseshoe shaped debate room seating 40 in two tiers, a large tiered seating seminar room that can be split into two smaller 28-seat seminar rooms, and a serving kitchen and public toilet areas round out the facility. To make weekend conferences and meetings more cost effective, the conference center has its own entrance, allowing the north end of the building to remain closed when only the south end is in use. 

The four computer labs are designed to accommodate twenty desktop stations and the three long-distance learning classrooms are configured for video teleconferencing instruction. The long-distance learning classrooms each feature desktop video cameras and up to eight individually controlled video monitors. 

“The Laurens County Higher Education Center is a great addition to the Piedmont Technical College system,” states Dr. Walters, “and it signifies a new era in cooperation between local institutes of higher learning. We are proud of the building’s presentation and performance, and we look forward to increased use of the facility in years to come.”

DIV 04: Textured Masonry Units: Mesastone™ by Trenwyth Industries; Brick: Richtex.
DIV 08: Storefront: Amarlite Architectural Products; Access Doors: Stanley: Hollow Metal Doors & Frames: Metal Products, Inc.; Wood Doors: Marshfield Doors; Hardware: Best Access, Glynn-Johnson; Hager; LCN, McKinney, Rockwood, Trimco, Von Duprin, Rixson; Thresholds, Weatherstripping, Door Sweeps: Pemko Manufacturing; Acoustical Treatment: USG.
DIV 09: GFRC Column Covers: Casting Design; Acoustical Wall Panels: Benton Brothers; Carpet: Shaw; Base: Roppe.
DIV 10: Operable Partitions: Modernfold; Louvers: C/S Group.

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